Failure, frustration and catastrophe are not part of our youthful dreams. No one dreams of someday getting a divorce; losing a job, career, or business; of bankruptcy or home foreclosure; or of death prematurely stealing a loved one.
When such failures, frustrations and catastrophes occur it’s easy to feel like a failure and not a success. That’s why Sumner Redstone’s quote is encouraging. The 93 year old media mogul declares, “Success is not built on success. It’s built on failure. It’s built on frustration. Sometimes its built on catastrophe.”
We smile at that, and think, maybe we can be successful too, in spite of all the junk we’ve been through! We smile even more when we realize that it’s the successful person’s ability to endure through failure, frustration and catastrophe that inspires.
Jesus is the King of Success! Did his life include failure, frustration, and catastrophe? Yes! Yes! Yes!
Jesus failed. He was not able to do many powerful works in his own hometown. The locals knew him too well. Jesus explains, “It’s in his hometown, among his relatives, and in his own household that a prophet (person of God) is not received.” (Mark 6:5)
Jesus got frustrated. As he rides a donkey down the hill toward Jerusalem the crowd gets loud, shouting joyful praises implying that he is the promised Messiah.
Offended, religious leaders tell Jesus to control his fans. Jesus responds that, if he stops their cheering, the rocks will starting cry out for him instead.
It was then that frustration’s waves overwhelm Jesus. Gazing across the Kedron Valley at the Holy City tears start rolling down his face and he cries out, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often I would have gathered you as a hen gathers her chicks but you would not let me do it.”
Like Jesus, when we try, and try, and try again and discover we can’t make things happen we get frustrated as well. When we see Jesus going through what we go through we experience what the Bible calls “the fellowship of his sufferings,” and we are drawn closer to him.
Jesus experienced catastrophe. That’s when everything falls apart beyond words and explanation.
Jesus’ catastrophe occurred on the cross. As his earthly life is bled and ripped away, he cries out, “Eli! Eli! Lama sabachthani!” meaning, “My God! My God! Why have you abandoned me?”
No one understands what he was saying. Most think he is crying out for the prophet Elijah to come and save him, or that he is thirsty, but they are wrong.
It’s catastrophic! Jesus the so-called Son of God, Son of David, and Messiah, endures the darkest depths of eternal hell as he cries out, “Why God? Why?” Torn away from direct communication with his true, eternal Father, he becomes sin for us. Earth quakes! Splitting rocks cry out! Hades rages!
And now, 2000 years later, we see Jesus, who, having endured the failure, frustration and catastrophe, now sitting down at the right hand of the throne of God, the true King of Success!
And we know that as we join with him, success is ours in spite of earthly failure, frustration, and catastrophe. “As we suffer with him we shall also reign with him!” Amen!
John Parker pastors toward less formal more relational ways of being the Christian church. Locally, John facilitates Connections Simple Church 10 AM Sundays at Carty Center, 609 W. Robertson Blvd. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, or at (209) 564-7201.